Manas Dasgupta

Inquiry was in “total disregard of natural justice and fair play”

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has quashed a Gujarat University decision declaring Deputy Inspector-General of Police Rajnish Rai failed in the first year law examinations on charges of copying.

The case has assumed political significance as Mr. Rai, heading a team that probed the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case at the behest of the Supreme Court, put fellow IPS officers including the suspended DIG, D.G. Vanzara; Rajkumar Pandian and M.N. Dinesh Kumar (of the Rajasthan cadre) behind bars.

While these IPS officers, along with a dozen police officials, were in jail facing trial, the Gujarat Home Ministry withdrew Mr. Rai from the investigation and put IG Geetha Johri in charge of it.

In the examination copying case, the university’s “Pariksha Suddhi Samiti,” after an inquiry, upheld the supervisor’s complaint that Mr. Rai was carrying a foot rule scribbled with some notes and was copying from that material, and declared Mr. Rai failed and withheld his results. But, during the inquiry, the foot rule was never produced, despite Mr. Rai’s repeated demands.

Mr. Rai moved the court against the university’s decision. Justice Jayesh Patel said the university’s stand that any student was liable to be punished if any material was found on his or her person irrespective of its relevance to the examination was “absolutely ridiculous.”

The judge said the university conducted the inquiry in “total disregard of natural justice and fair play.” The court ruled that Mr. Rai’s results be declared by November 14, that he be allowed admission to the second year law course and complete both semesters of the current year in April 2009 in view of the time lost in the pending litigation. The court observed that the denial of opportunity to Mr. Rai to cross-examine complainants and other witnesses was also against the principles of natural justice and was prejudicial to his right to defence.